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Essential Study Skills

Essential Study Skills
The Complete Guide to Success at University

Third Edition
Additional resources:

472 pages | SAGE Publications Ltd
Do you want to do better at university?

Whether you're a student wanting to improve their study skills or a lecturer who wants to give their students a helping hand with their work, this book is for you.

Essential Study Skills is a proven guide for every student wanting to achieve success at university.

Packed with study tips and handy activities, this study skills handbook shows you step-by-step how to study effectively and make the best of your time - whatever level you're at.

Whether you are going to university straight from school, a mature student, or an overseas student studying in the UK for the first time, you'll find out how to:

" Sail through those tricky first weeks

" Get the most out of lectures by understanding how you learn

" Learn techniques for academic writing and research

" Pass exams with flying colours

" Stay cool and cope with stress.

Practical and interactive, this edition features three brand new chapters to arm you with even more essential skills including how to produce a dissertation, planning your career and focussing on building relationships with lecturers and other students to help you get ahead.

Also launching with this new edition is an improved and expanded companion website. Don't miss the extensive range of guidance and resources for both students and tutors, including downloadable templates, practice exercises and other tools for students to use in both their preparation and their actual work.

Succeeding at university: quick steps to success
Places to go and things to do
Make sense of your course
Study Techniques and Learning Effectively
How to learn effectively
Get organised for independent study
Debbie Holley
Computers: Any place, anywhere, any time
How to succeed in group work
How to interact and build relationships at University
How to survive academic reading: targeted research and active reading
How to make the best notes
Creative strategies and Learning Effectively
How to be creative in your learning
How to think effectively: analytical and critical thinking
Communicating Effectively in Assignments
How to write better assignments
How to prevent plagiarism
How to overcome writing blocks and become a confident writer
How to write great essays
How to produce excellent reports
How to write a brilliant dissertation
How to deliver excellent presentations
How to run your own seminars and workshops
Emotional Dimension
How to deal with your emotions
Reflective Learning
Reflective learning and the learning log!
Memory and effective revision
How to understand and pass exams
Christine Keenan
Personal Development Planning (PDP): becoming who you want to be
Moving on: What to do when you finish university


Essential Study Skills website

Visit the companion website for:
Study skills packs on presentation skills, effective reporting, and essay planning, giving you step-by-step advice on how to prepare for assignments
Printable handouts featuring activities, checklists, and diagrams, for additional student study support
Excerpts from Student Essays introducing you to real papers, and helping you get to grips with academic writing
Journal Articles (free to access) guide you through selected topics in more depth
Videos on how to make the most of Essential Study Skills, and how to take effective notes
Podcasts from the authors, giving a more detailed look at selected topics
PowerPoints on a variety of topics, giving a more in depth look at specific study skills
Additional web links to a variety of useful learning resources, providing advice on study skills techniques
For instructors, there is also free access to selected chapters from Burns and Sinfield's teaching book, Teaching, Learning and Study Skills.

SAGE Study Skills website

Visit the SAGE Study Skills website for tips, quizzes and videos on study success!

'This book will help any student gain confidence in their ability to write and argue effectively when completing work for submission'
- Karen Sneddon, Nursing and Midwifery, Sheffield Hallam University

'A well written and superbly structured book. I found this book to be extremely useful for both students and teachers alike. There are some excellent tips and activities in addition to extenstive support material. A book that you can dip in and out of at your leisure'
- Mrs Ruth Baxter, Education , Blackburn College

An excellent resource for both lecturers and students
- Mr David Ellicott, Gyuidance, Youth Studies & Youth Justice, Nottingham Trent University

'A great book to keep close to you while you develop during your degree. You’re not expected to be perfect after years of practice, let alone after a single term in your fresher year. This book helps you to understand that, yet at the same time helps you strive to bring out your best at all times'
-The University Blog

A useful companion for students new to HEI that can also be utilised by those teaching/supporting them

Miss Carys Armstrong-Griffiths
Dpt of Nursing, Midwifery & Social Wo, Hertfordshire University
January 26, 2015

I would definitely recommend this textbook to our postgrad students, as a reputable text for getting started with key areas of study skills. I found the chapter on reflective learning and learning logs particularly useful, as this is something often glossed over in other texts I've read, so will be recommending this section in particular to students. If undegraduate students were asking for a general textbook on study skills I would probably recommend Cottrell's Study Skills Handbook in preference to this, as it is possibly better suited to the students we support. For postgrad students, I would recommend that they look at this textbook (Burns and Sinfield) instead.

Mr Aron Truss
Faculty, Portsmouth Business School
July 21, 2014

An invaluable book for students returning to study and undertaking degree level courses. Very practical and easy to follow.

Ms Joan Martlew
Childhood & Primary Studies Department, Strathclyde University
January 9, 2014

Only useful for some students

Ms Jude Stratton
Westminster Institute of Education, Oxford Brookes University
October 3, 2013

Sound introduction to the basics of undergraduate study - for both first time and returning university students.

Mr Ato Erzan-Essien
Media, Chester University
September 26, 2013

This book presents very good insights into a range of practice frameworks that support the work of social workers in practice settings. I envisage this book being an essential part of placement for those working with children in both statutory and voluntary settings where Looked After children are present. The legal aspect of practice is well set out, along with theoretical and practice insights, meaning it will stimulate both the mind and the performance of students as they continue their journey from novice learners to successful practitioners.

Mr Sam Miller
Human and Health Sciences, Huddersfield University
July 3, 2013

Useful for undergraduates, but I also suggest it to students returning to study after a long period.

Mr Andrea Cassidy
Service Development and Improvement, Bradford University
July 1, 2013

Useful additional reading for students across the year groups, although we have used it the most with our first years.

Ms Amanda French
Dept of Education Studies, Wolverhampton University
April 26, 2013

recommended for use by some of our students who do not have an understanding of academic skills.

Dr Doug Martin
The Lifelong Learning Institute, Leeds University
February 13, 2013

Tom Burns

Tom Burns, always interested in theatre and the arts and their role in teaching and learning, led the Hainault Action Group setting up adventure playgrounds and devising Community Events and Festivals for the local community. Whilst still a student Tom set up and ran the first International Dario Fo Festival – with symposium, theatre workshops for students and local people and full dramatic performances by the Fo-Rame theatre troupe of The Tiger’s Tale and The Boss’s Funeral. Tom Burns is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Learning Development actively involved in the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education (www... More About Author

Sandra Sinfield

Sandra Sinfield has worked as a laboratory technician, a freelance copywriter, an Executive Editor (Medicine Digest, circulation 80,000 doctors) and in the voluntary sector with the Tower Hamlets Research and Resource Centre and with the Islington Green School Community Play written by Alan, Whose Life is it Anyway?, Clarke and produced at Sadler's Wells. Sandra is a Senior Lecturer in Education and Learning Development actively involved in the Association for Learning Development in Higher Education ( Some time ago she, along with Tom Burns, developed the student-facing Study Hub ( and... More About Author